Google is integrating additional mobile and Offers features with the Google+ social network. Upcoming features will allow check-in based offers, incentivizing Plus shout-outs for local businesses – but stepping on the toes of other Google services.
Mike Blumenthal was the first to spot a noteworthy change to the Google Offers help files: a discussion of Google+ check-ins and their purpose. As the feature being discussed hadn't been announced or released, the help file was more helpful to those keeping tabs on industry news than it was to advertisers.
While the help file was taken down in the aftermath of Blumenthal's report, TechCrunch snagged a copy. The text of the help file included useful lines such as:
- "When you create new offers, you can choose whether to allow a check-in during redemption."
- "Your customers will choose who see their check-ins" (including private check-ins)
- "Customers who use Google products that support offers and check-ins will be required to check-in when they redeem an offer. However, if they use a product that does not support check-ins [...], they will not be asked to check-in."
Marissa Mayer, Google's Vice President of Product Management, later confirmed that Google would be implementing this feature in the near future. While the details she gave were sparing at best, she did note that Google+ integration wouldn't mean the abandonment of other Google location-based products.
I'll go ahead and add a skeptical "yet" to her statement, though. It's quite clear that Google+ is becoming more of a hub for local businesses and offers already. The integration of check-in deals here, especially after the Latitude check-in service already allowed you to sync with Plus, indicates that Google is trying to centralize the location services.
Will Google be wrapping Offers, Places, Latitude, and even Wallet into Google+? If so, how long will they take to do it? And would you, as both a digital socialite and marketer, be happy or upset about turning Places into a business section of Plus that mirrored Facebook pages? Leave your thoughts on Google's plans and brilliance / idiocy in the comments.